As I walked out of Zurich airport I was welcomed by a smartly dressed man who whisked my suitcase away and invited me to follow him.
As I sunk into the cream leather backseat of a black Mercedes-Benz with tinted windows, my eyes were drawn to the bottle of bubbly on ice sitting beside me. The Swiss certainly know how to please.
I admired the hustle and bustle of the city as we drove through Zurich on our way to Hotel Alex – a brand new hotel just outside of the city and the latest addition to the Campbell Gray Hotel group.
Located on the Western shore of the lake, the hotel is in a league of its own with unparalleled views of both the mountains and the lake from almost every corner of the hotel. Home to forty-four suites and penthouses, it’s very own restaurant and swanky bar, and of course a spa to rival all spas; Hotel Alex brings a little something special to Lake Zurich.
The flickering flames of the fire drew me in from the hotel entrance and into a corner of the hotel which can only be described as snug. Plush soft furnishings are complimented by slick white marble tables and dimly lit lamps.
The distinct sound of ice rattling around in a cocktail shaker drew me to The Boat House Bar just beyond the cosy entrance. Brushed gold and pastel green leather bar stools line the grey marble top bar which is fully stocked with only the most premium labels. It seemed only fitting to accept the recommendation of the Head Mixologist and opt for their nostalgic cocktail, Missing The Summer. A sweet and sticky concoction of Mount Rigi liqueur, passion fruit, apple syrup, lemon juice and sparkling wine; Missing The Summer had me hooked from the first sip.
Despite being tempted to sample one or two more cocktails, I made my way upstairs to the sixth floor to see what my suite had in store. As I pressed the key card against the door, I found delight in hearing the unmistakable electronic whirring sound of the hotel door unlocking.
With more floor to ceiling glass than walls, the corner suites at Hotel Alex offer some of the best views of Lake Zurich. I leapt across the room and swung open the doors, desperate to breathe in the crisp clean air and catch a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains in the not-so-far distance.
Floods of natural light bring the outdoors in, while underfloor heating and a custom-design kitchenette complete with an Nespresso coffee machine make you feel right at home in the cosiest of surroundings.
Designed by London-based interior designers, BradyWilliams Studio, the hotel exudes a sleek and contemporary feel. Portugeuse-made bespoke Scandi-style furniture has been combined with natural materials and textures to create a harmonious atmosphere that is sophisticated yet understated. The interiors are reflective of the unspoilt scenery that surrounds the hotel with pale oak floors, a muted colour palette, and minimal décor.
When I eventually tore myself away from my suite, I ventured downstairs to The Boat House. The hotel’s bar and corner suites were to blame for my high expectations, and it is The Boat House that confirmed them. With panoramic views of the lake – the city of Zurich on the left and the Swiss Alps on the right – The Boat House is the ultimate restaurant in the Swiss capital.
The recently opened restaurant prides itself on having a menu that focuses on seasonal and locally sourced produce, such as grilled lake fish, organic meats and shellfish, combined with fresh salads and vegetables, to create a light and healthy food offering.
To start, I ordered the Beef Tartare which was served with House Pickles, Crackers and Mustard. In between courses, a light Potato Cream Soup “Prättigauer” with Farmers Ham was served.
Cod Fillet with Champagne Cabbage, Pan Fried Potatoes and Meaux Mustard Sauce was stealing my attention. However, I decided to order the Cassoulet of Beef Tenderloin Tips with Potato Mousseline, Duet of Beans and Champignons, and every mouthful assured me that I made the right decision.
To finish, I thought I’d try the Homemade Rum Pot which is a typically German dessert of mixed fruit and alcohol. Believe me when I say that this dessert blows all cobwebs away.
The Boat House is also home to an outdoor terrace complete with modern seating, parasols and a bar that takes centre stage. The ideal place to sip on refreshing cocktails on a hot summers day whilst admiring the sparkling waters of Lake Zurich; The Boat House is an unrivalled destination in the capital.
The following morning, I paid a visit to the hotel’s PureGray Spa. Located at lake level, the spa’s plunge pool places you right at the water’s edge. With a sauna, steam room, and heated marble slab at the centre of the spa; the PureGray Spa is the perfect place to while away the hours after a day of exploring the city or hitting the nearby slopes.
Swissline – the skincare used for all treatments at the spa – uses Alpienne ingredients which harness restorative powers of wild crafted herbs. So, whether you hit the nearby slopes or opt for a facial, you’ll experience the wonders of the Swiss Alps.
Later in the afternoon, I hopped on board the hotel’s boat and took the scenic journey across the lake and into the city of Zurich. Famed for its spectacular Christmas markets (and rightly so!), Zurich is also home to over one hundred art galleries and several renowned museums, as well as world-famous art and architecture. One of Zurich’s most famous roads is the busy Bahnofstrasse in the capital’s financial district; home to a number of shops, designer boutiques, restaurants, bars and churches.
My favourite stroll in Zurich has to be through the Old Town. The Linderhof Hill takes centre stage with its stunning views of both the city and the lake, while the quaint cobbled streets that surround it are lined with shops, cafés, restaurants, and of course, chocolate shops.
For those seeking the ultimate Swiss chocolate experience, however, it may be more worthwhile to stay put at Hotel Alex. A short two-minute drive from the hotel lies the Lindt headquarters where visitors can take part in a Master Chocolatier class or explore the largest Lindt shop in all of Switzerland.
Whether it be a weekend of rest and relaxation or a week-long stay filled with endless adventure; Hotel Alex in Lake Zurich has it all.
Prices start from £265 per room per night, including breakfast and excluding city tax.